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Monday, July 23, 2001
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Russian hacker held after convention

A Russian computer programmer who gave a presentation at the DefCon hacker convention in Las Vegas this weekend has been arrested by the FBI on charges that he wrote a program that allegedly circumvents a controversial US copyright law. Dmitry Sklyarov, 26, was arrested in his room at the Alexis Park Hotel as he prepared to check out and return to Moscow, said special FBI agent Daron Borst said. Sklyarov was ordered held without bail during an initial appearance in federal court in Las Vegas and will be transferred to San Francisco, where he has been indicted on charges of trafficking in software to circumvent copyrighted materials, Borst said. While there have been civil cases brought under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), this is one of the first criminal cases brought under the controversial law, lawyers said. Sklyarov, who faces up to five years in prison and a $ 5,00,000 fine if convicted, wrote a software program that Adobe Systems Inc. claims violates the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), according to the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.


Cyprus Web firms hit

Internet services in Cyprus was disrupted by a data bombardment from abroad whose source the FBI has been asked to help track down, industry officials said. Internet service provider Spidernet said service was now back to normal but warned the attacker or attackers, who had been moving about to bypass system defences, could strike again from a new location. One of the largest Internet companies on the Mediterranean island, it said the denial of service blitz had first targeted one of its clients on July 12. An avalanche of incoming data blocked lines, slowed down servers and affected other subscribers. "Other local (Internet) providers were also affected by this due to the massive amounts of data sent towards Cyprus," it said in a note to subscribers. "We don't know the source yet, we are in contact with the FBI, Interpol and AT&T," Thois Themistocleous, Spidernet's marketing manager, told.

Aussies go online to combat suicide

Australia launched a free Internet-based counselling service in a bid to stem an alarming rate of young persons who commit suicide. Experts in Australia, which has the world's fourth highest youth suicide rate, said the government-funded Web site would match young people with suicidal impulses to doctors. It also aims to help treat more moderate cases with self-help advice offered by fictional characters like "Noproblemos", "Drop-dead Gorgeous Elle" and "Cyberman". The site, aimed at giving young people free confidential advice at the click of a mouse, uses cognitive behaviour therapy from self-help books and face-to-face counselling to try to change the way troubled people think. Government figures show suicides among young male Australians have nearly doubled since 1975, with one in five young Australians battling depression and one in four deaths among young men caused by suicide.

MS to wire UK park bench for Web surfing

A stroll in the park could soon become surf on the Web after Microsoft wires up what it says will be the world's first park bench with Internet access. The software giant's British Web portal, MSN.co.uk, will place the techno-seat in Bury St Edmunds in south-east England. Visitors to the city's Abbey Gardens will be able to connect their laptops to the internet for free through a connection on the bench, although MSN is still testing the best technologies to achieve this. It says it hopes to have the net chair ready by August or September. "The bench is a metaphor for the Internet slipping into every day usage - it's as everyday as a park bench," an MSN spokesperson said. Reuters

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